User Survey 2007

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PLUS Public Library User Survey - Dublin City Libraries' Results (2007)

The national PLUS Public Library User Survey findings were published on September 25th, 2008, by Minister Kitt. T.D. As part of this survey process, DCPL collected 1,136 questionnaires, which were administered by its frontline library staff.

The survey findings provide important information on those who use public library services, for what purpose and what do they think about service provision.

Who uses Dublin City Public Libraries?

DCPL serves a diverse range of users. While all adult age groups visit libraries, interestingly, the most highly represented group was in the age band 35-44, at 22%, followed equally (17% each) by the two groups 25-34 and 55-64. Significantly, those in full-time employment, at 31.4%, accounted for the highest occupational category, followed by the retired category (23.5%).

15% of library visitors identified that they have a disability or long-term illness, and, reflecting a multicultural society, the survey identified 42 different languages spoken by library users. The survey also established that 56% of library users are female.

What are the purposes and outcomes of library visits?

The extent of library services, including the range of facilities and activities provided, promote different reasons for visiting libraries. While the significant majority (70.6%) availed of the lending service, the use of technology facilities (66%), particularly for Internet access, also emerged as a significant purpose for library visits. Survey findings also confirmed the role of public libraries as information providers, as 42.9% of users visited the library for the purpose of "finding something out".
The following chart illustrates the range and extent of services used.

Chart1: Library Services Used

Chart 1 Library Services Used - content in text format follows

[Text version of chart]

  • 70.6% - Lending
  • 28.5% - Other
  • 21.9% - Reference
  • 8.4% - Exhibitions, Leisure activities
  • 7.4% - Local Studies
  • 6.8% - Music
  • 3.6% - Business Information

The survey findings suggest user interest in alternative formats such as DVDs and music CDs, and that a wider choice of materials, where feasible, would improve borrowing outcomes. This also applies to the range of materials available in different languages.

Chart 2: Satisfaction rating – book stock and alternative formats

Chart 2 Satisfaction rating – book stock and alternative formats - content in text format follows


[Text version of chart]

  • Large Print Books - 35.1% (very good) and 40.3% (good)
  • Choice of Books - 34.9% (very good) and 42.2% (good)
  • Talking Books - 30.7% (very good) and 39.8% (good)
  • Music CDs - 24.3% (very good) and 36.0% (good)
  • Material in own language - 23.6% (very good) and 24.1% (good)
  • Magazines/Newspapers - 23.1% (very good) and 46.6% (good)
  • DVDS/Videos - 22.7% (very good) and 32,.3% (good)
  • Computer Games - 20% (very good) and 33.9% (good)

How do users rate Dublin City Public Libraries?

In terms of "overall impression", 59.1% of users rated DCPL as "very good" and 32.1% as "good". Satisfaction with staff helpfulness received an impressive 83.4% "very good" rating.

The timing of the survey coincided with the 'bedding down' of broadband and Wi-Fi Internet access and preceded the replacement of public access PCs in all branches. Therefore, the satisfaction ratings of "very good" for Wi-Fi at 38.8%, computers at 41%, and Internet at 43.1%, are likely to improve in any future measurement.

The public library is viewed as a safe place to visit, as indicated by 69.7% of users rating this aspect of the library environment as "very good". The implementation of the "Building Access Programme" will ensure that the principles of "Universal Access" result in an enhanced library experience by all users particularly in relation to ease of movement within the library and ease of access to the library.

Chart 3: Satisfaction ratings - enjoyment of library space

Chart 3 Satisfaction ratings - enjoyment of library space - content in text format follows

[Text version of chart]

  • Safe place to visit - 69.7% (very good) and 24.9% (good)
  • Ease of access - 62% (very good) and 28.8% (good)
  • Opening Hours - 53.3% (very good) and 35% (good)
  • Ease of movement within library - 51.1% (very good) and 37.2% (good)
  • Provision of seating and tables - 42.1% (very good) and 23.9% (good)
  • Attractiveness of exterior - 27.3% (very good) and 28.4% (good)

Where and how frequently do users visit libraries?

Library users are frequent visitors as illustrated in the graph below. Interestingly, while this survey sought the views of traditional library users, 31% accessed library resources via the Internet, to request, renew or reserve online, or to access online services such as a databases.

Chart 4: Frequency of library visits

Chart 4 Frequency of library visits - content in text format follows

[Text version of chart]

  • Once a week - 40%
  • Once a fortnight - 19%
  • Once every three weeks - 15%
  • Once every four weeks - 10%
  • Very occasionally - 12%
  • First visit - 4%
  • Once a week - 40%

This survey was funded by the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government and coordinated by An Chomhairle Leabharlanna, nationally.

Dublin City Public Libraries
Research and Projects
September 2008